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The barrel cortex contains the somatosensory representation of the whiskers on the face of the rodent and forms an early stage of cortical processing for tactile information. It is an area of great importance for understanding how the cerebral cortex works because the cortical columns that form the basic building blocks of the cerebral cortex can be seen within the barrel cortex.
In this advanced graduate and research level text, Kevin Fox explores three main aspects of the barrel cortex: development, sensory processing and plasticity. Initial chapters introduce the topic, describing those animals that have barrels, the functional anatomy of the system and the cellular and synaptic physiology of the cortical microcircuit. The book concludes with a chapter covering the numerous fields where the barrel cortex is used as a model system for solving problems in other areas of research, including stroke, angiogenesis and understanding active touch.